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We're just wild about Harry …

Possibility of the Sussexes moving to B.C. has supplanted the big legal news, says Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson
Boughton Law

One might think the biggest legal issue in British Columbia in the past month was the so-called slap-down of the B.C. government by the Supreme Court of Canada over B.C.’s attempt to impose jurisdiction over the Trans Mountain Pipeline through the Environmental Management Act, notwithstanding that the pipeline is an interprovincial undertaking and is constitutionally within federal jurisdiction.

The NDP government made a campaign promise to use every tool in the toolbox to stop the pipeline’s expansion in order to prevent heavy oil from crossing B.C.’s borders from Alberta. Regulating it to death was, I suppose, the price they had to pay for the support of B.C.’s Green Party to help prop up the NDP’s minority government. Wisely, the Supreme Court of Canada saw through the charade and took a whole 30 minutes to deliver a unanimous verdict against B.C.

One might also have thought the big story in B.C. was the inherent problem of inhaling and exhaling at the same time. You see, while the B.C. government was arguing out of one side of its mouth that the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby was so monstrously evil it had to be killed, out of the other side they were pushing through the construction of another fossil fuel pipeline, this one carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) to the coast for shipment to Asia, despite significant opposition by hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it? 

But the big story in B.C. in January wasn’t about any of the above. It was about Harry and  Meghan!

Will the Sussexes move to North Saanich on the ocean and dine at the Deep Cove Chalet every weekend, running kayak tours to nearby Saltspring Island? It’s certainly nice in North Saanich, around 17 miles from Victoria, but as an old Victoria friend who still lives in that city told me, “Victoria is a place where old people go … to visit their parents.” I suspect Harry and  Meghan may realize that Vancouver has a few more attributes for 30-somethings than does my former hometown (although not nearly as much urban pizzazz as Toronto, where  Meghan lived and worked for years while filming the American TV legal drama Suits). 

Madonna has now entered the fray and accused Canada of being too "boring" for Harry and Meghan, notwithstanding that the whole idea of leaving London was for them to get out of the spotlight. Moving to New York or L.A. seems to be at odds with that, but time will tell.

In any event, if they do come to Canada the interesting legal issue isn’t so much where they’ll live as how they’ll be able to immigrate without jumping the queue? And more to the point, can they even be admitted as permanent residents to Canada? The Duchess of Sussex may have a better chance of permanent residency status in Canada than will her husband (the prince formerly known as “Prince”) because she, an actress, might qualify as an artistic cultural worker in the self-employed category. It also helps that she has a university degree and significant work experience, much of it in Canada. Unfortunately, as nice a guy is he seems to be, Harry has no degree and no defined occupation. It seems that Meghan should be the applicant and Harry should be the spouse.

Or they might forgo the immigration process altogether and live in Vancouver for less than six months of the year as “visitors,” and if so just rent here, thus avoiding B.C.s foreign buyers tax on real estate for non-residents. If they do, I would be happy to lease my new water-view condo on the 19th floor of Vancouver House, the twisty, futuristic “how-did-they-build-that-thing-anyway?“ gravity-defying tower at the corner of Howe Street and Pacific. Although the condo measures only 534 square feet inside, it has a 125-square foot balcony overlooking English Bay. It’s quiet. Its private. There’s no paparazzi. And I’ll throw in parking, too.

I think people in Vancouver are reasonably happy about Meghan and Harry considering a move here. Let them live the life they want, and if it’s here in La-La Land, more power to them! Of course, nobody wants to use Canadian tax dollars for their security, but I expect this will sort itself out as part of Harry’s separation from his regal duties.

As for privacy, there are many television and movie stars who come to Vancouver and, generally, people tend to leave them alone. We respect their privacy. If Harry and  Meghan do move here, they may be followed by a gaggle of paparazzi (who more or less caused the death of Harry’s mother in Paris in 1997).

Someone whimsically suggested to me that Vancouverites should give the foreign paparazzi the Vancouver welcome they truly deserve, and in doing so, indirectly protect the privacy of Harry and  Meghan. When safe to do so, Vancouverites could consider blocking photographer’s cameras at every opportunity with umbrellas, briefcases, buckets of water, or their bodies. Their immediate neighbours might use their garden hoses on paparazzi camped out on the boulevard in front of their home.

If paparazzi are anchored on boats facing their backyard, perhaps Royal Vancouver Yacht Club members could engage in target practice with water guns aimed at the paparazzi’s boats? And although bear spray might be a bit over-the-top, I suspect Vancouver’s joggers, dogwalkers  and cyclists could chase paparazzi away by flinging biodegradable water bottles, spoiled fruit, doggie doo-doo and other organic refuse. All this would make the life of a paparazzo in Vancouver miserable, wet — and very smelly.

Turnabout being fair play, I believe that chasing the paparazzi would be far more fun than chasing  Meghan and Harry!

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